Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Roman Paganism: Capitol Triad (3)

Jupiter Optimus Maximus
The Goddess, Juno is heavily involved in the life of Rome and her people.  Juno is often invoked as the Goddess of Rome, and the Protector of the State.  Her titles give the wide range of her worship in Rome.   Juno Regina, as the “Queen of the Heavens”, like Uni, governs all aspects of Roman womanhood.  In this aspect, She is depicted wearing a goatskin cloak, and armed with a spear.  Like Uni, Juno also hurls lightening bolts.

The Matronalia (March 1) celebrates Juno as Lucina, the Goddess of Light and Childbirth.  Romans sacrificed lambs and cattle to Her.  At her temple on the Esquiline Hill, the Vestal Virgins offered to Her, their hair.  Also, mothers offered a coin to Her for each of their newborn children.  As Lucina, She watched over their newborns.

Worshipped in each of the curiae of Rome, Juno Curitis protected the citizen-soldiers of Rome.  In this aspect, She was the only deity universal to all of the curiae.  A traditional prayer to Her: “Juno Curitis protect my fellow natives of the Curia with your Chariot and Shield.”

The sacred geese of Juno Moneta warned the Romans of an impending attack by the Gauls (in 390 BCE).  After Marcus Furius Camillus won the war against the Gauls, he vowed a temple to Her in 345 BCE.  Besides Vesta’s temple, this temple to Juno Moneta was the only other round one in Rome.

In portraying Minerva, people often claim that She is the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, Athena with a Roman name.  Wearing her military tunic and aegis, and carrying her shield and spear, Minerva does portray the martial aspects of Athena Promachos (Athena the Champion).  However, the Romans also see Her as one of the Capitoline Trio (with Jupiter and Juno) overseeing state affairs.

Adapted from the Etruscan Goddess, Menrva, Minerva is also the Goddess of Wisdom, Education, and Commerce.  In addition, She is the Patroness of Textile Works, Doctors, and Artisans.  Furthermore, Minerva is the inventor of numbers and several musical instruments as well.
               Ovid writes:  “Pray now to Pallas, boys and tender girls;
               Whoever wins Her favor will be skilled,
For She’s the Goddess of a Thousand Works.”

Although there is no Rome today, we can still appeal to the Capitoline Triad for their wisdom for our leaders and countries.  They can offer their guidance and protection to us, for our governments, and in our public life.  We can look to Them to show us good statesmanship as well as excellence in the arts.

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